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What are some of the top identity and access management risks?

Identity and access management risks exist, but the benefits of IAM outweigh the drawbacks. What are some of the issues that might arise?

When evaluating an identity and access management platform, the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks. That said, only a few identity and access management risks need to be considered when designing an IAM implementation and ongoing maintenance processes. For example, it's important to note that as you begin to centralize the management of usernames and authentication mechanisms, the process creates a much bigger security target.

As a result, it is essential to bake security into your IAM deployment from day one. This includes the necessary firewall and intrusion prevention system IPS protections, as well as the creation of a strict access policy that significantly limits who has access to manage the platform.

Cutting identity and access management risks through policies

Another potential misstep is determining how administrators manage role-based access control (RBAC) within an organization. RBAC is a method used by admins to bundle multiple users into groups based on their need to access similar resources. While the use of access groups is a great way to reduce the number of access policies that need to be created and maintained, many businesses lump too many users into a single group. The result is some users are granted access to applications and services they don't need.

In a best-case scenario, this leads to a situation where user access isn't nearly as stringent as it could be. In worst-case scenarios, this can result in having users with inappropriate separation of duties, which can lead to access control compliance violations.

Finally, when you implement an IAM, be sure to create a policy that calls for regularly scheduled access control audits. As user roles change, so should the access those groups of users gain from the network. Additionally, when a user changes jobs within the organization, make sure all previous access is revoked.

An audit process associated with lowering identity and access management risks will yield two important benefits. First, it will require well-documented procedures for the IT department to follow. Second, it will force IT admins to understand what apps and services their users require to perform their specific duties.

This was last published in May 2019

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